No, that isn’t wallpaper or a fake picture — that’s real food you’re looking at. The checkerboard is made of pea pods, and the lattice of squares is made of super-thin watermelon slices. Artist Sakir Gökçebag cuts food so carefully that he can line up perfect shapes in crazy designs. Food doesn’t grow perfectly: every pea pod is a little different, and so is every apple. So he has to pick out the fruits or veggies that are the same size, then he cuts them. Next time you eat, see what patterns you can make before you gulp your food down!
Wee ones: What shapes do you see in the middle of the pea pod checkerboard?
Little kids: How many rows of pea pods can you count? Bonus: If the 1st row has 1 square shape (white), the 2nd has 3 square shapes, the 3rd has 5 squares…how many in the 4th and 5th rows together?
Big kids: The picture has 3 rows of 4 x’s each. How many x’s are in those 3 rows — and how many watermelon slices do they use? Bonus: How few slices could you add around the edges to make all complete diamonds?
Wee ones: Squares.
Little kids: 17 rows — a middle one and 8 above, 8 below. Bonus: 16 squares in total, since they have 7 and 9 apiece.
Big kids: There are 12 x’s, and they have 48 slices in total (12 x 4). Bonus: 28 slices: 4 v-shaped pairs along the top edge, 4 pairs along the bottom, and 3 pairs along each short edge.
Laura Bilodeau Overdeck is founder and president of Bedtime Math Foundation. Her goal is to make math as playful for kids as it was for her when she was a child. Her mom had Laura baking before she could walk, and her dad had her using power tools at a very unsafe age, measuring lengths, widths and angles in the process. Armed with this early love of numbers, Laura went on to get a BA in astrophysics from Princeton University, and an MBA from the Wharton School of Business; she continues to star-gaze today. Laura’s other interests include her three lively children, chocolate, extreme vehicles, and Lego Mindstorms.